When is work not really work? When it's fun!
Using online forums, also called message boards, can be a fun way to promote your business in a low key way.
You cultivate relationships with others
You learn about all kinds of topics
Your marketing message is presented without screaming advertisement
By answering questions related to your topic, you are positioned as an expert in your field
How to Use a Forum for Promotion:
First, find a forum that is of interest to you and frequented by people in your target market. A great place to start is to go to ezboard.com and search for forums by keywords that reflect your target market.
Next, I suggest you "lurk" or just watch the activity for a few days to get a feel for the tone of the forum. When you feel confident this is an appropriate place to represent your business, introduce yourself. Often message boards have a 'New Members' type place to post your first message.
After you have been welcomed, scan through the topics and post answers to questions others may have about your area of expertise. Repeat daily or weekly.
Of utmost importance is to have a signature line that is added to the end of each message you post. This is like your calling card, and is what makes this method so subtle. You may be posting a famous recipe, but everyone who checks it out will see your business name. Most forums have an account setting or options area where you can set up an automatic signature or you can cut and paste your signature each time, but this is much more cumbersome.
Don't spam boards by visiting once and posting an advert everywhere. It will give you a bad reputation - not what you need to increase sales.
Check the regulations of the board to be sure signature lines are allowed. Some forums strictly prohibit marketing of any type.
Revisit your posting frequently to address any replies. Also, add new postings of interest every few days to keep your business in the message board's eye.
Message boards and forums can be a very valuable marketing tool. While you're at it, be sure to check out the fun topics, too!
About The Author
Megan Corwin is a personal coach who enjoys helping work at home professionals grow their businesses while maintaining an organized household. Download Megan's free ebook "How to Market Your Small Business Online for FREE": http://marketonlinefree.wahwoman.com